EMS students get life-like training

May 6, 2013 Feature Print Print
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Earlier this semester, five EMS students were charged with responding to the man’s 911 call for help.

Once the emergency responders arrived at the scene at the patient’s home, they were required to assess the patient’s medical condition, determine that he needs to be taken to the emergency room, then deliver him there in an ambulance.

OCCC’s emergency medical sciences students get life-like training by loading a patient-stimulating dummy into the back of a real ambulance in the Health Professions hallway, said EMS Professor Shawn Ballard.

Classroom training prepares them with instructions on how to respond to various life-threatening situations, he said.

But the real test is how they use that knowledge on the job.

The patient simulator is the size and weight of an average man. Although the stimulator is not able to move, it is able to make noises and alert the workers that he is in pain, Ballard said.

The simulator has blood pressure, pulse, and heartbeat just as a human patient would.

The students place the conscious patient on a stretcher and take him to the ambulance while Ballard asks them questions every step of the way.

“What is his heart rate?” “What does his blood pressure look like?” Ballard asks as the students try to work and think at the same time.

Unfortunately, the ambulance is in standstill mode due to the lack of electricity, so the students are unable to employ any of the life-saving devices a real ambulance would be able to offer.

Nevertheless, the ambulance still offers a great opportunity for students to take their skills and abilities to a higher level, Ballard said.

Once the patient-stimulator is in the ambulance, students perform CPR while continuing to keep tabs on his blood pressure.

“What is his blood pressure right now?” Ballard asked the lead paramedic.

While the students give the patient CPR, the lead paramedic uses the radio to inform the dispatcher that they are headed to the hospital.

The students then proceed to take the patient into a simulated emergency room.

Four students continue to assist the patient as the lead paramedic speaks with the scenario doctor, played by Ballard.

Taking the patient to a simulated emergency room allows the students to know what to expect from a doctor when they arrive to the hospital, Ballard said.

It is no secret this is an extremely nerve-racking profession, she said.

Ballard said during these exercises, the students are able to apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to a real­­-life situation.

Different students are assigned to take the lead in the emergency situation.

Emergency Medical Sciences Program Director Leaugeay Barnes said EMS students practice these life-like scenarios that will ultimately prepare them for emergency situations.

These role-playing labs have allowed graduates of the OCCC EMS program to be thoroughly prepared for their national exams, and more importantly, for their professional lives, Barnes said.

“The OCCC EMS program has the highest first-time paramedic pass rate in the state of Oklahoma,” Barnes said.

Support from the health professions industry has provided the program with extra resources, such as the decommissioned ambulance that sits in the hallway, which was donated by Tulsa Life Flight from St. Francis Hospital, Barnes said.

For more about the program, visit www.occc.edu/health/emt.

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